Author of the Clockwork Scoundrels series. EIC of FanFare. Probably thinking about Star Wars.


Marvel has rightfully earned our trust, but how long will casual fans stick around?

WandaVision is weird.

That’s no surprise. Anyone who’s even glimpsed the marketing knew it was going to be different. If you are a comic fan and aware of certain storylines concerning Wanda, you’re probably fully onboard. If you aren’t and tuned in just to see some Marvel goodness, there’s probably a good chance you won’t stick around till the end.

The first two episodes are presented in black and white and are strongly reminiscent of Bewitched: a laugh track punctuates jokes that often have to do with keeping our heroes’ powers hidden from their mundane costars. …


Avoiding the same old tired ground

When Amazon bought the television rights to The Lord of the Rings in 2017, fans were elated, skeptical, and more than a bit nervous. The question on everyone’s mind: would the new series complement the cherished Peter Jackson films, or run counter to them?

It seemed almost unthinkable that Amazon would just recast and retell the story of the One Ring. But studios like to play it safe, especially with the amount of cheese Amazon had on the line (one billion over five seasons). …

The Mantle

Part twenty

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Photo by Dan Russon on Unsplash
The Mantle is a serialized fantasy story. More about it here.Table of contents

The wagon passed through the countryside like the whisper of a dream. Ethereal, knowing no laws but its own, borne on as though by gossamer wings. Runes carved along its edges blazing with starlight so that the whole of it shone, but neither seen nor heard as it climbed over hills and rolled through valleys.

The old man hunched on the bench, reins dangling loosely in his hands. Though they were many leagues from home, Lythienne knew the way and did not need his counsel. She tirelessly cantered down the dirt road, head bent to the task. …

Our favorite stories from a year of hell

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This has nothing to do with The Great Gatsby or Leo, I just love this pic. Image: Warner Bros

We don’t need to talk about 2020. You know, I know. And yet, some good came out of it.

FanFare has continued to grow, attracting new writers and diverse voices. In August, Medium recognized us as a high quality publication and pledged to give our stories broad distribution across the platform. It’s an amazing honor and a testament to the quality of writers that are publishing here.

This newsletter can’t possible encapsulate all the awesomeness we published in 2020. Winnowing it down to a manageable list was a painful exercise — in December alone we published 50 stories. …

Popular Prose

Your first priority is to communicate clearly

Although there is no substitute for merit in writing, clarity comes closest to being one.” ~ E.B. White

You are probably familiar with the game of telephone, wherein a message is verbally passed from one person to the next. The fun of the game is seeing just how mangled the message becomes from all those handoffs. And the purpose, of course, is to illustrate how suspect our faculties are for listening and discernment.

At its best, writing avoids this sort of confusion because it is a direct communication between writer and reader, with no monkeys in the middle. …

The Mantle

Part nineteen

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Photo by Sanjeev Grover on Unsplash
The Mantle is a serialized fantasy story. More about it here.Table of contents

Simeon sat with the fire blazing on his face and the mead warming his insides. He’d drank half the horn while listening to Cordo talk of their homeland, of razor edged peaks and winding mountain passes, of bitter winds and the warmth of a good woman, of the horrors that slumbered in the Deep Places and sometimes wandered to the surface. His head felt dangerously loose, like it might tumble off his shoulders if he wasn’t careful. …


Points of light in an otherwise bleak year

I was fortunate. I haven't lost anyone to Covid. I am able to work from home. I’m a Gen X homebody introvert – shutting myself in with my things is kinda my desired state anyway.

But even so. 2020 was some bullshit.

Here’s what gave me joy while living through the pandemic.

Dungeons & Dragons

Both of my regular D&D games went on hiatus as my friend and I switched gears to work on a Kickstarter. They remain frozen in time months later, long after we concluded our project, in large part because I simply didn’t feel like playing. It takes a lot of creative juice to run a game of D&D, and I was feeling wrung out. …

A couple days ago I wrote about how my youngest no longer believes in Santa, and the things I do to keep the magic alive.

Normally we have to drag…

Standing at the threshold of Christmas, I’ve been thinking about the things I need every year, without which the holiday would feel incomplete.

  • Family. This year made that more clear than ever.
  • My wife and daughter making cookies while singing Christmas songs.
  • Okay, I also like eating them.
  • Giving.
  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. My brother and I quote this movie year-round. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
  • The joy of surprising someone with a great gift.
  • Candlelight service on Christmas Eve. We’re sitting it out this year. Won’t be quite the same.
  • Sitting and just looking at the tree at night. …


Somber but hopeful, it’s far more than just Christmas music

I grew up during the peak Muppet years, that period between the mid 70's and the late 80's, and they loom large in my memories of childhood. Naturally, we had the Muppets Christmas record and would play it endlessly. It was the first Christmas CD I bought for myself once I moved out and needed seasonal music of my own. It remains a tether to all that was and can now only be faintly glimpsed.

I’d always come for the Muppets side of the equation – we literally called it the Muppets Christmas album – but as I got older, I began to appreciate John Denver’s tracks. There is something beautiful and haunting in ‘A Baby Just Like You’, a song he wrote to his son. A father myself now, these lyrics stir some nameless thing inside of me: nostalgia for the past, grief for the loss of innocence, the hope for my children, the recognition of my own mortality. …

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